NGT bans camping activities within 100 m of Ganga in Uttarakhand

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on 2 March 2017 ordered a ban on camping activities within 100 metres of the Ganga in Uttarakhand. The decision was taken by a bench of justices headed by NGT Chairperson Swatanter Kumar. The ban will be imposed from Kaudiyala to Rishikesh in Uttarakhand.

There are 33 beaches along the riverside of Ganga. The NGT order follows a complaint by activist Vikrant Tongad who had moved the tribunal against camping along the river. Vikrant had contended that camping and river rafting, when done without any regulations, would disturb the environment. He also pointed out that camping along the riverside leads to pollution of the water and the river bank, as campers often dispose of the waste in the river and leave behind glass and plastic bottles on the banks.

Polluting of the Ganga water is a cause of concern for the Union government as well and in fact, the cabinet minister of Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation, Uma Bharti had set 2018 as the deadline to clean Ganga fully. However, it is unlikely for the work to be completed by 2018. Main reasons for the delay include the delay in clearances by the state government to execute the projects as well as the intrusive questioning process of the NGT about the operating capacity of sewage treatment plants in Uttar Pradesh.

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